Category Archives: Health Care & Medical

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Eyes

Drinking alcohol can of cause effects to your entire body including your eyes. A low intake of alcohol shouldn’t cause you any health problems but drinking alcohol heavily can potentially cause health problems including harmful effects to your eyes.

Here are a few of the effects heavy drinking can have on your eye health.

Pupils

Alcohol can cause slow pupil reactions. It slows down the iris’ ability to dilate and constrict. This might not seem to be too much of a problem at first but if you have been drinking alcohol, even a small amount, and then drive your pupils won’t react as quickly to oncoming car headlights, therefore dazzling your vision which could cause an accident. So even if you have drunk alcohol and it is under the legal limit for driving and you feel fine to drive, think again about the other effects the alcohol is having on your vision.

Vision

Drinking alcohol can not only affect your pupils but also your general visual performance, especially if you have been drinking heavily. The alcohol can weaken the eye muscles which can cause blurred or double vision and also can cause delayed reactions.

Peripheral Vision

Not only can your general vision be affected after heavy alcohol consumption but your peripheral vision can change. Alcohol can sometimes lower your peripheral vision sensitivity and this can give the sensation of tunnel vision.

Contrast Sensitivity

Another way alcohol can affect your eyes is by making them less contrast sensitive. This means it can be harder to tell the difference between shade of grey.

Eye Lid Twitching

Eye lid twitching can be caused by many factors and one of these is a high intake of alcohol. If you suffer with eye lid twitching and drink heavily, try to lower your alcohol intake and see if your eye lid twitching improves.

Eye Dryness

A study carried out by the Hallym University College of Medicine indicated that drinking alcohol, even a small amount, reduced tear breakup time and induced tear hyperosmolarity which in turn can result in eye dryness.

Corneal Transplants; What Are They

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK)
This type of cornea transplant replaces the full thickness of the cornea with a healthy and clear donor tissue and is required when a cornea has been severely damaged or disease, and where no other option of surgery remains. PK can be carried out under local or general anaesthetic and takes about one to two hours to complete. During surgery, a central 8mm button of cornea is removed and a similar sized button of the donor cornea is stitched in with tiny stitches. After surgery vision will stay misty and/or cloudy for a few days and will improve gradually for about 12-18 months. Individual stitches may be removed from three months after the surgery, but complete stitch removal is not performed until at least one year after the surgery. Following surgery, and once fully healed, around 75% of transplant recipients have adequate vision to drive legally, but to get the best results from vision, glasses or contact lenses may need to be worn.

Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK)
This type of cornea transplant is a partial thickness transplant and replaces the front 99% of the cornea with a donor cornea. Unlike penetrating keratoplasty, DALK keeps the back layers of the cornea, the Descemet’s membrane and endothelium layer, in place and it is used as an alternative to PK, when these back layers of the cornea are healthy. The surgery itself is carried out much the same as PK, but just less donor cornea is used. Again, stiches are used to keep the donor tissue in place, but as only part of the cornea has been replaced, healing and visual recovery are usually quicker than what are seen with PK. To get the best vision following surgery, glasses or contact lenses may need to be worn.

Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK)
This type of cornea transplant is a partial thickness transplant and replaces only the back layers of the cornea. Unlike to above two transplants, EK can be further split into two methods; Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) and Descemet’s membrane endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). Both DSEK and DMEK are very similar and the procedure to carry them out is the same, but DMEK differs as the donor cornea tissue does not include any stromal layer tissue. The consultant ophthalmic surgeon will decide which surgery is necessary, depending on the damage or disease that is present. EK transplants are used when there is a problem at the back of the cornea. To help keep the cornea clear, the cells lining the inside of the cornea pump fluid to stop the cornea from swelling, if there are not enough cells, due to disease or damage, then the cornea starts to swell and vision will become cloudy. The surgery is carried out differently when compared to PK and DALK; it will again be under either local or general anaesthetic but a very small incision is made between the coloured and white part of the eye. The eye surgeon removes the dysfunctional endothelial cells through this opening and a disc of donor cells is placed back inside the eye. The donor endothelial cells are pressed to the back of the cornea with an air bubble and the patient will need to lie still for about 1 hour following surgery to make sure the air bubble stays in place. Occasionally, a few stitches to close the incision may be needed. Vision will stay misty or cloudy for a few days, and will get better over 3-4 months, as with all types of corneal transplants glasses or contact lenses may be needed after surgery to get the best results from vision

6 Newborn Baby Eye Problems

A lot of people think eye problems come with age, but there are many eye problems that newborn babies can have. Babies can develop eye problems for a variety of reasons such as from infections, present of problem at birth, or congenital eye problems, amongst other reasons. Here I will go through a few of these problems.

1. Childhood Cataracts

Childhood cataracts is a common eye problem. They can be congenital, developing before or soon after a baby is born, or they can develop in older babies and children. Although more commonly found in older adults cataracts can happen at any age. Cataracts happen when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and hardens which causes issues with the vision. Cataracts in babies are normally picked up by healthcare professionals when they are carrying out checks on the baby. It may be necessary for the baby to have surgery to remove the cataracts. They can occur in one or both eyes.

2. Blocked Tear Ducts

Tears are drained from each eye from four tiny holes on the eyelid margins, two at the top and two at the bottom. Another common condition in babies is that one or more of the ducts may be blocked. This can cause eye infections and the baby might need antibiotics to clear up the infection. If the tear duct does not open naturally, then surgery with an ophthalmologist may be required, but most tear ducts do open up by themselves within the baby’s first year.

3. Ptosis

Again, ptosis is a problem seen a lot in older adults where one or both eyelids start to droop. This can also be found in newborn babies where one or both eyelids do not develop correctly. Surgery may be needed, as if it is left untreated it can cause a lazy eye later in the baby’s life.

4. Retinopathy of Prematurity

Babies that are premature can be born with underdeveloped eyes. It tends to be the blood vessels that transport blood to the retina that are not fully matured and need more time to grow. Once a baby is born, the inside of the eye could be damaged if these type of blood vessels do not grow as they should. Premature babies will be under constant monitoring and they will have an examination of their eyes to make sure the blood vessels have developed correctly, if they are not then treatment may be needed to prevent any more damage to the eye.

5. Eye Infections

Babies are exposed to whatever bacteria is found in the mother’s birth canal during labour, and this can cause eye infections. It isn’t uncommon for babies to contract conjunctivitis soon after birth, an antibiotic drop or ointment will clear this up. There are also various sexually transmitted infections which can be passed onto the baby during labour that cause eye infections.

6. Eye Defects

Newborn babies can be born with eye defects that can affect any part of the eye such as the cornea, lens, retina, eyelids, one eye being smaller than the other, and sometimes there is an abnormality or loss of vision that cannot be explained. If a baby is born with an eye defect it is known as a congenital condition, and depending on the type of defect it is, will depend if treatment or surgery is needed.

Eyes are such an important part of us and looking after them needs to start from birth. If you have any concerns about your newborn’s eyes, whether it be infection, disease or just something that doesn’t seem right it is extremely important to get it checked by an eye doctor as soon as possible to avoid any long term damage or vision loss.

Glaucoma, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment For It

Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve in the eye. The optic nerve is majorly responsible for vision and transmits images to the brain. The cause for Glaucoma is an increased pressure inside the eye, also known as intraocular pressure. This force of pressure in the eye leads to the damage of the optic nerve.

Glaucoma can be hereditary in nature and may show up in the later stages of life. Poor blood flow to the optic nerve also causes Glaucoma. Without proper treatment, Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss.

What are the symptoms for Glaucoma?

If you’re over 40 years of age and have a family history of Glaucoma, it is highly recommended to get a complete eye examination done from a Glaucoma specialist every 1 to 2 years. If diabetes or a history of glaucoma is prevalent in the family, a person may be more prone to eye disorders and diseases and may require frequent eye check-ups.

People who suffer from poor eye vision or are suffering from diabetes are also at the risk of getting Glaucoma. People who have suffered accidental injury or trauma on their eyes or are on steroids are equally at the risk of getting Glaucoma.

Glaucoma is considered to be difficult to be understood by the patient himself and difficult to diagnose as well at an early stage. Other symptoms for Glaucoma include-

Pain in the eyes, severe headaches, blurred vision or the appearance of halos around lights, redness in the eyes, hazy eyes, nausea or vomiting and narrowed vision or tunnel vision are some symptoms which must not be ignored.

Address all your eye problems carefully with a Glaucoma specialist to ensure a perfect vision.

How common is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of permanent blindness in the world today. Studies reveal thatapproximately6 million people suffer from blindness due to this disease.

What is more adverse is that Glaucoma is initially difficult to diagnose. This is because the disease causes no symptoms other than the first sign that is a gradual loss of side vision (which is the peripheral vision) and also it is difficult to understand. Due to its difficult diagnosing, Glaucoma is also known as �sneak thief of vision’.

How is Glaucoma diagnosed?

The Glaucoma specialist to provide you Glaucoma treatment will use eye drops to dilate your pupils and examine them carefully. Scans and pictures are also taken by eye specialists to observe the eye conditions over a period of time. Tests such as Tonometry are conducted to check the eye pressure. Visual field tests and examination help the eye doctor to diagnose Glaucoma